Civil Registrations - Part I

by E.B. Lapointe

Civil registrations are those events in life such as births, marriages, and deaths (BMDs) which are required to be registered with the government, and which then becomes part of their Vital Statistics Department. As this happened at various times across the country, it is best to go province by province and territory by territory so as to find out where these registrations can be accessed.

Since there is a lot of information to read, this article has been divided into two parts, with Part I covering the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. Part 2 of January’s article will cover the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, as well as the three territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Provinces

In the province of Alberta, you may contact the Alberta Vital Statistics section by writing to Government Services, Alberta Registration Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 2023, Edmonton, AB T5J 4W7. Registrations of births, marriages and deaths started in 1870. On the website of their archives is a very complete guide to locating the registrations, and they also have the “Index to Registrations of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1870-1905” available for research.

The address of the archives website is

In the province of British Columbia, the archives has an online searchable database of births from 1872 to 1901; marriages from 1872 to 1926; and deaths from 1872 to 1981. Also listed is a searchable database of 3,423 names of the casualties from the Second World War from 1940 to 1945.

They have an excellent Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section on their website, and all the certificates start at 1872 because that it the year that British Columbia became a province in Canada.

The address of their website is

For further information, please contact the British Columbia Vital Statistics Branch, P.O. Box 9657, STN PROV GOVT, Victoria, BC V8W 1H8.

The Manitoba Division of Vital Statistics, Community Services, 254 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg. MB R3C 0B6, is the place to contact for vital statistics information.

Their website of the provincial archives is

In the province of Ontario, the provincial archives holds the indexes (where available) and registration books for births of the years 1869 to 1905; of marriages from c1801 to 1920; and of deaths from 1869 to 1930.

For more recent registrations, you are asked to contact the Office of the Registrar General, P.O. Box 4600, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6C8.

Their website of the archives is

In Quebec, the researcher is asked to contact the Ministere des Relations avec les citoyens et de l’immigration, le Director de l’etat civil, Service a la clientele, 205, rue Montmagny, Quebec G1N 2Z9.

In the province of Saskatchewan, the civil registrations began in 1888, except for marriages, which started in 1878. Since there are no records at the provincial archives, one must write to the Saskatchewan Division of Vital Statistics, Department of Health, 1942 Hamilton Street, Regina, SK S4P 3V7.

Continue on to Part II

Before I leave you for this month, I would like to wish everyone around the world “Happy Holidays” from Canada, and a very healthy and wonderful New Year.

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